Fri, May 25, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Li, asked about Liu Xia, says China protects rights

Reuters, BEIJING

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) yesterday said that China’s constitution protects human rights after he was asked about Liu Xia (劉霞), the widow of Chinese Nobel laureate and rights activist Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), with concern growing that Beijing would not allow her to leave the country.

Liu Xia, an artist and poet who suffers from depression, has been under effective house arrest since her husband was awarded the prize in 2010. She has never been charged with any crime.

Liu Xiaobo in July last year died of liver cancer while in Chinese custody, having been jailed in 2009 for “inciting subversion.”

Li answered a question about Liu Xia’s freedom by saying China’s constitution states that it respects and protects human rights.

He said at a joint briefing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing that he hoped China and Germany could talk about individual human rights cases on an equal basis.

“China will respect the actions taken in accordance with the law by judicial and law enforcement bodies, but at the same time, we must respect humanitarianism and follow humanitarian principles,” Li said.

“On relevant individual cases, we hope to have dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and equality. We will explain our situation,” Li said, without elaborating or mentioning Liu Xia by name.

Merkel had brought up human rights issues with him, and China is willing to hold talks on the subject with Germany by the end of this year, he said.

China has repeatedly said that Liu Xia is free and is accorded all rights guaranteed to her by Chinese law.

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